Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Facebook Lady & Zacchaeus

When you're doing your best to stay alert for a hope-filled message or encouraging sign, you sometimes take a step in a direction you're less inclined to do normally.  I sought prayerful counsel from a stranger on Facebook. 

The page on which I asked for prayer and any encouragement from a prophetic sense has never seemed to be squirrelly or spiritually adrift.  I've sought prayer from there before (wrote about this page before, A Dream of School).  It was affirming and hopeful then.  I asked for prayer and any spiritual insights yesterday.  A dear woman wrote back.

Be confident.  You'll see the Lord's goodness.  It is God who gives us the Victory.  Make vows to the Lord and fulfill them.  It is better to not promise at all than to promise and break it.  Holy Spirit, guide Jeff with your counsel.  I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. 

I was encouraged, but a little unsettled.  Had I made any vows to the Lord I've left unfulfilled or abandoned?  I pray not.  It's funny we're led to things we hear from others first that may be construed as critical rather than claiming the encouraging words first.  Maybe I was looking for an excuse to discredit this Christian woman, and, thereby lower my expectations of her spiritual insight.  Regardless, I'll see God's goodness, but be careful of the vows I make.  Hmmm.

This morning, I read Zacchaeus' story in Luke 19 from the Daily Office scriptures in the Book of Common Prayer.  There are elements in this story that are interesting.  Jesus remained itinerant.  He went to Jericho and found Zacchaeus.  Zac didn't go looking for Jesus but wanted to see him when he came to town.  Zac climbed a tree to see him.  Jesus called Zacchaeus by name and invited himself to Zac's house.  The crowd grumbled (who cares?).  Zacchaeus said he'd give half of his possessions away and four times of what he defrauded back to his pigeons.

As is my custom, I reflect on scripture I read daily by writing my insights in my journal. While I wrote, it dawned on me there were ironies between my Facebook lady's insights and this story.   Zacchaeus encountered grace in Jesus' acceptance of him. That was the goodness of God.  He then responded to what only God can do for him by making public vows of recompense to those he harmed.  The goodness of God was followed by vows made by the one given victory.

We don't know for certain Zac did what he promised, but Jesus said salvation came to that house.  Kimberly declared over me I should be confident I'll see the Lord's goodness.  She then wrote, "Make vows to the Lord and fulfill them." I'm told to be confident I'll see the Lord's goodness, and, it appears vows will follow.

Its impossible to convey to you the hope I experienced when I realized the parallels between Luke 19 I read this morning and the prophetic declaration, in the name of Jesus, given to me the night before.  The gospel lesson was on schedule to be read today, but my actions in asking a stranger to pray for me on Facebook was not anticipated.  God the Father expressed reassurance to me when I needed it.  Alleluia!

Great God, I am confident I'll see your goodness and victory.  I'll make vows and follow your counsel.  Its cool when a word is given and a scripture follows to illustrate.  I claim in faith, Holy Spirit, your counsel regarding your victory and subsequent vows made.  I will fulfill them.  Lord, our past does not define us. 

Great God, I love and trust you.

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